Who could ever have believed that, for the bicentenary of Charles Darwin’s birth, the most famous of English naturalists would be recognized as the fifth evangelist by the Roman Catholic Church? But this astounding event was bound to happen after an unpublished manuscript of Darwin was discovered by sheer luck in a cave in Sinai one year ago. This amazing document, written both in Aramaic and Koine Greek – two languages Darwin was known to have mastered –, has fortunately nothing to do with the theory of evolution or other nonsense, but records the life of the son of God in a typically biblical style. It took less than six months for the most eminent theologians of the Vatican to conclude that this text was inspired by the Divine Spirit and to include it in the set of books constituting the New Testament canon.
The principal difference with the four other gospels lies in the fact that the main character of the story is not Jesus but a twenty-foot gorilla called King Kong. The gospel starts with the following words, “In the beginning was the Ape, and the Ape was with God, and the Ape was God,” and it appears quickly that this statement has to be interpreted not in an allegorical way but in a literal one. Inevitably, this surprising characteristic makes Archangel Gabriel’s job a little more tricky: “Be not afraid,” he tells a sceptical Mary in a dream, “for thou hast found grace with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a primate, and thou shalt call his name King Kong” – in fact a quite freakish thing to admit for an irreproachable young lady who has never known either a man or an ape or an apeman.
After this difficult starting-point, however, Darwin’s gospel recounts the ministry of King Kong in Galilee from his baptism to his crucifixion to his subsequent resurrection, and most of the brave deeds described by the other evangelists are reported here too: King Kong driving the merchants from the temple, King Kong at the marriage at Caana, King Kong walking on water, etc. Of course, there are some slight differences in the narrative, due to a large extent to the physical particularities of this four-handed hairy messiah. For example, Lazarus is not resuscitated once, but twice – a first time after he dies of a disease, a second time after his stroke on seeing a monstrous ape capable of speech bending over him. We also learn how John, the beloved disciple, is accidentally killed by King Kong in the Garden of Gethsemane: wanting to hug him tenderly while he leans on his breast, the Divine Ape does nothing but suffocate him, oblivious of his superhuman strength. He has just enough time to resuscitate him before being arrested by Roman soldiers, led to Pilate and crucified on an oversized cross.
This gospel is apparently Darwin’s ultimate book, and it entirely disproves his previous works, driving the last nail in the theory of evolution’s coffin: not only does man not descend from apes, but it can be reasonably surmised from now on that the ape descends from men. The ape is the future of man, his perfect accomplishment, his final incarnation. Last month, a delegation of cardinals thus started an international tour of the biggest zoos of the world in order to find a possible successor to Benedict XVI. They have already visited London and they have been very impressed by the gorilla Micky, a powerful alpha male born in the Congo, whose personality, skills and faith entirely meet the requirements of the papal profession. It’s even whispered that this Micky might some day leave his cage, his trapeze and his foolish act for tourists, and be enthroned Pope in Rome with great pomp and ceremony.
This is bad news for Tony Blair, another alpha male. Everybody knows that, after his failure to be the first President of the European Union, the former British PM, recently converted to Catholicism, craves to become the next Pope. According to his supporters, his numerous international contacts and his exceptional moral integrity make him perfectly suitable for the job. Anyhow, impatient and restless as usual, Blair has already launched his campaign for the post. Warning that Satan’s legions can reach St. Peter’s Basilica within only forty-five minutes, he is calling for a pre-emptive attack on Hell by Swiss Guards. He also proposes removing lying from the list of sins, renaming Catholicism “New Catholicism” and making evangelical prescriptions compatible with free-market rules. Apparently, he is not afraid to compete with Micky – but we must not forget that, as regards ‘monkey business,’ Blair does not need advice at all!
Anyway, whoever the conclave chooses to succeed Benedict XVI – Micky the silverback or Tony Blair, both British subjects of Her Royal Majesty –, the Roman Catholic Church will be in good hands!